Monday, November 24, 2008

I Will Fear No Evil

For anyone who has been following the news over the past several months, there is certainly good reason to be worried - even frightened - about, and for, our nation. I probably don't need to list all of the anxieties currently concerning most Americans today. On top of those existing concerns, we also have the looming threat of another terrorist attack on our homeland.

Several of my friends have expressed their fear(s) to me. Some have even shared that the anxiousness, fears, and anxiety of their adult children has reached a breaking point. As Christians, what are we to say to them to help comfort and calm such fears?

First of all, we must recognize that their fears are real, genuine, and with good reason. Second, we can try to steer those fears into the right direction. This can be tough because we (you) are feeling the same exact fears!

Those of us who know Who holds the future, can go to our Bibles and find the answers and strength to keep working, watching and waiting for that great Day of Redemption.

However, those who may not know Jesus Christ (yet), or, have not made that born-again decision to confess their sin, repent of it, and ask Jesus to enter their hearts as Lord and Savior of their lives - do not have the same comfort and reassurance that believers own.

I want to recommend a book to read. It is one of Max Lucado's earliest books called, "Traveling Light." It is about the promise of Psalm 23. The subtitle reads, "Releasing the burdens you were never intended to bear."

Though the book often deals with difficult, real life situations, Lucado includes a lot of humor in his writings. However, the chapter on "fear" doesn't include much humor - but a lot of comfort and hope.

For such a time as this, I want to share most of that chapter with my readers here at Talk Wisdom.

In Christ our Lord,
Christine

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Chapter 12
From Panic to Peace
The Burden of Fear

I will fear no evil.

Psalm 23:4 NKJV

It's the expression of Jesus that puzzles us. We've never seen his face like this.
Jesus smiling, yes.
Jesus weeping, yes.
Jesus stern, even that.
But Jesus anguished? Cheeks streaked with tears? Face flooded in sweat? Rivulets of blood dripping from his chin? You remember the night.

Luk 22:39 And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him.


Luk 22:40 And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation.


Luk 22:41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,


Luk 22:42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.


Luk 22:43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.


Luk 22:44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.


The Bible I carried as a child contained a picture of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. His face was soft, hands calmly folded as he knelt beside a rock and prayed. Jesus seemed peaceful. One reading of the Gospels disrupts that image. Mark says, "Jesus fell to the ground" (Mark 14:35). Matthew tells us Jesus was "very sad and troubled...to the point of death" (Matt. 26:37-38). According to Luke, Jesus was "full of pain" (Luke 22:44).

Equipped with those passages, how would you paint this scene? Jesus flat on the ground? Face in the dirt? Extended hands gripping grass? Body rising and falling with sobs? Face as twisted as the olive trees that surround him?

What do we do with this image of Jesus?

Simple. We turn to it when we look the same. We read it when we feel the same; we read it when we feel afraid. For isn't it likely that fear is one of the emotions Jesus felt? One might even argue that fear was the primary emotion. He saw something in the future so fierce, so foreboding that he begged for a change of plans. "Father, if you are willing, take away this cup of suffering" (Luke 22:42).

What causes you to pray the same prayer?

[T]he source of your fear may seem small to others. But to you, it freezes your feet, makes your heart pound, and brings blood to your face. That's what happened to Jesus.

He was so afraid that he bled. Doctors describe this condition as hematidrosis. Severe anxiety causes the release of chemicals that break down the capillaries in the sweat glands. When this occurs, sweat comes out tinged with blood.

Jesus was more than anxious; he was afraid. Fear is worry's big brother. If worry is a burlap bag, fear is a trunk of concrete. It wouldn't budge.

[Note from Christine: I know, I know. Just keep reading. The comforting is coming!]

How remarkable that Jesus felt such fear. But how kind that he told us about it. We tend to do the opposite. Gloss over our fears. Cover them up. Keep our sweaty palms in our pockets, our nausea and dry mouths a secret. Not so with Jesus. We see no mask of strength. But we do hear a request for strength.

"Father, if you are willing, take away this cup of suffering." The first one to hear his fear is his Father. He could have gone to his mother. He could have confided in his disciples. He could have assembled a prayer meeting. All would have been appropriate, but none were his priority. He went first to his Father.

Oh, how we tend to go everywhere else. First to the bar, to the counselor, to the self-help book or the friend next door. Not Jesus. The first one to hear his fear was his Father in heaven.

A millennium earlier David was urging the fear-filled to do the same. "I will fear no evil." How could David make such a claim? Because he knew where to look. "You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me."

Rather than turn to the other sheep, David turned to the Shepherd. Rather than stare at the problems, he stared at the rod and staff. Because he knew where to look, David was able to say, "I will fear no evil."

[Note: Lucado goes on to describe the fact that when hitting a golf ball, one does not focus on the trees ahead - but looks for the opening. It's good counsel for golf and in life. Rather than focus on the fear, focus on the solution.]

[T]hat's what Jesus did.
That's what David did.
And that's what the writer of Hebrews urges us to do. "Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith" (Heb. 12:1-2 NKJV).

The writer of Hebrews was not a golfer, but he could have been a jogger, for he speaks of a runner and a forerunner. The forerunner is Jesus, the "author and finisher of our faith." He is the author - that is to say he wrote the book on salvation. And he is the finisher - he not only charted the map, he blazed the trail. He is the forerunner, and we are the runners. And we runners are urged to keep our eyes on Jesus.

[Note: Lucado describes his running experiences.]

[T]hings hurt. And as things hurt, I've learned that I have three options. Go home. Meditate on my hurts until I start imagining I'm having chest pains. Or I can keep running and watch the sun come up. My trail has just enough easterly bend to give me a front-row seat for God's morning miracle. If I watch God's world go from dark to golden, guess what? The same happens to my attitude. The pain passes and the joints loosen, and before I know it, the run is half over and life ain't half bad. Everything improves as I fix my eyes on the sun.

[Note from Christine: I have found that everything improves as I fix my eyes on the Son!]

Wasn't that the counsel of the Hebrew epistle - "looking unto Jesus"? What was the focus of David? "You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me."

How did Jesus endure the terror of the crucifixion? He went first to the Father with his fears. He modeled the words of Psalm 56:3: "When I am afraid, I put my trust in you" (NLT).

Do the same with yours. Don't avoid life's Gardens of Gethsemane. Enter them. Just don't enter them alone. And while there, be honest. Pounding the ground is permitted. Tears are allowed. And if you sweat blood, you won't be the first. Do what Jesus did; open your heart.

And be specific. Jesus was. "Take this cup," he prayed. Give God the number of the flight. Tell him the length of the speech. Share the details of the job transfer. he has plenty of time. He also has plenty of compassion.

He doesn't think your fears are foolish or silly. He won't tell you to "buck up" or "get tough." He's been where you are. He knows how you feel.

And he knows what you need. That's why we punctuate our prayers as Jesus did. "If you are willing..."

Was God willing? Yes and no. He didn't take away the cross, but he took the fear. God didn't still the storm, but he calmed the sailor.

Who's to say he won't do the same for you?

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God" (Phil. 4:6 NIV).

Don't measure the size of the mountain; talk to the One who can move it. Instead of carrying the world on your shoulders, talk to the One who holds the universe on his. Hope is a look away.

Now, what were you looking at?

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Reference source: Traveling Light by Max Lucado, 2001 W Publishing Group, a Division of Thomas Nelson Publishers, Inc., P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, Tennessee 37214. pp. 97-102

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To view my study notes taken during a Bible study on this book and Psalm 23, please see several posts, starting with The God Who Guides Us over at my other blog called The Way of God In Truth.

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Attention!
Announcing a new feature.


In order to keep up with the ongoing controversy surrounding Barack Obama's "natural born citizenship" status, court cases, information, news articles, new website discoveries, new blog posts and comments regarding this issue, I will place additional information and links at the bottom of my new blog posts each day.

The reason for doing this is so that you can keep up with the news without having to go back to previous posts (where I have been posting updates) and/or searching for new information in the comment sections of Talk Wisdom.

Obama's Citizenship Controversy Updates:


Some previous updates re-posted here:

Ultimately, December 1, 2008 and December 5, 2008 will be significant days concerning two lawsuits.

Please see Texas Darlin blog too. Check out the many posts on this topic.

As commenter "Ted" in the comment section of my previous blogpost said, you really should listen to this Blog Radio broadcast over at Political Pistachio: Why Is Obama's Birth Certificate Still An Issue? Why Does the Media Not Report on the Lawsuits Concerning the Issue?

Lastly, I discovered the following article today.

The Great Birth Certificate Scandal Cover Up Of The 2008 Election

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Update 11/23/08 @ 10:28 a.m. PT

If you want to see the absolute SMOKING GUN SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE that the Barack Hussein Obama birth certificate being passed off on the Internet as "real" on sites such as "Kos," "Factcheck.org," "Snopes," and "fight the smears" websites,
please see the EXTENSIVE RESEARCH DONE BY RON POLARIK OVER AT HIS BLOG ON TOWNHALL.COM!

FYI: The page may take some time to load because it is filled with image comparisons that will demonstrate the PROOF that the Obama birth certificate is a FORGERY!


Additional Note: When you click on the link above, you will need to scroll down a bit to begin reading/viewing the post.

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NEW Update: 11/24/08 at 9:23 a.m. PT

Just found this message forum that has lots of information and links (including several that I have already posted at Talk Wisdom) about the Obama birth certificate controversy and the U.S. Supreme Court cases coming up in December:

U.S. Supreme Court to Review Challenge of Barack Obama’s Citizenship

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Update 11/24/08 at 11:04 a.m. PT:

Lots of new information and possible speculation over at Texas Darlin's blog in today's Open Thread

I want to point out that one commenter seems to think that the "Kenyan Ambassador admitting that Obama was born in Kenya" could be "misinformation." I haven't gotten over to the forum where this is being shared (apparently, it is a democratic forum against Obama), but I want to be honest with my readers when any doubts arise about anything that I have previously posted.

Usually when something is listed as "misinformation," it means that the rumor is being spread by the other side (namely, the Obama campaign) in order to discredit any legitimate information that is being shared by bloggers regarding the Obama citizenship questions and requests for proof of his vault-length COLB to be shown to a judge and/or the public.

Just a heads-up on that.

Again, it still may be a legitimate recording and the Obamabots want to place doubt in the minds of those reading and listening to the broadcast. But like I said before, I want to share whatever I find out and be open and honest in my postings about this issue.

Wow. After I got finished typing this update, I found this link in my email:

Barack Obama: The Naked Emperor

Glanced through it - it's LONG! Now I will go over and read it. [Note: I did notice that the author is a "Bush-hater." But I am posting it anyway because much of what is written about Obama and his campaign is very enlightening and shows how millions of Americans were duped into voting for this fraud!]

****Check back for any additional information and links found today.****

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Update @ 1:54 p.m. PT

FYI regarding Snopes.com

Many have suspected Snopes is bent towards liberalism.

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Update @ 2:04 p.m. PT

I have long suspected (and written about here - just type "Soros" in the search blog box) the evil financial manipulator, George Soros, is involved in our financial crisis. Read The new world devised by Maurice Strong and George Soros

Funny how the name of "Soros" keeps popping up in many of these Obama articles...

*******
Update @ 7:57 p.m. PT

A New Video by Dr. Ron Polarik which demonstrates that Obama's Birth Certificate being passed off as real on Factcheck.org (and other sites) IS A FORGERY!!

4 comments:

Susan Smith said...

Christine said: “Several of my friends have expressed their fear(s) to me. Some have even shared that the anxiousness, fears, and anxiety of their adult children has reached a breaking point.”

“You must regard it as nothing but joy when you are involved in all kinds of trials, for you must realize that when faith has passed through the ordeal of testing the result is the ability to pass the breaking-point and not to break. This ability must go right on to the end, and then you will be perfect and complete, without a weak spot” (James 1:2-4, William Barclay).

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2Timothy 1:7).

I love you Christine. Thank you for being an amazing sister in Christ. The Lord is using you to shine the light of the gospel to the ends of the earth! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. Jesus is Lord... I am thankful. (ss)

Sosthenes said...

This is a little of what I learned today.

Matthew 17:17 Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me.

Matthew 17:18 And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.

Matthew 17:19 Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?

Matthew 17:20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.

This serves as a rebuke because Satan puts pressure when he is being cast out and the disciples can't maintain their faith in evidence of the activity of the god of this world. It is a failure to trust him when this demonic realm opposes us.

Stand and push a little more. Trust God more and stand:

Ephesians 6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

If I run out of ideas, pray. If all we can do is stand then stand.

Christinewjc said...

Great, great Bible verses Susan! You are so good at choosing just the right verses that fit so well with the subject matter!

God's Word is excellent! There is nothing that could ever compare to His Written Word, or, of course, His Living Word - Jesus Christ!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving my dear friend! Love & God bless you!
Christine

Christinewjc said...

Again, more great Bible verses shared by Sosthenes!

I used to think that the "mustard seed" verse meant that I didn't have faith as such - since I couldn't "move a mountain." Then I realized that our Lord was utilizing hyperbole!

Sosthenes wrote:

"This serves as a rebuke because Satan puts pressure when he is being cast out and the disciples can't maintain their faith in evidence of the activity of the god of this world. It is a failure to trust him when this demonic realm opposes us."

That statement could almost be deemed prophetic when we apply it to the rage that is happening here in CA (and in other areas of our nation) because Yes on Prop. 8 passed.

On the Fox News.com front page, there is a link to a video that discusses and asks are "gay marriage opponents [being] blacklisted?"

Then, CA to investigate Mormon aid to gay marriage ban.

Do you think that they would ever investigate aid to the other side? Of course not!

As Sosthenes had quoted:

Ephesians 6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

We need to do that in today's Christian hating/bashing world more than ever before! The desire of the immoral and secular left to eliminate Christian morals, values, ethics, free speech, and freedom of association - all which also negatively influence the freedom to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ - is at such a fever pitch that Christians are constantly under extreme attack.

Why?

Because no matter what they do, God's Word WILL ALWAYS STAND! And, they hate that fact!

Pro 30:5 Every word of God [is] pure: he [is] a shield unto them that put their trust in him.

Isa 40:8 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever

Luk 4:4 And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.

Luk 11:28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed [are] they that hear the word of God, and keep it.

Act 18:11 And he continued [there] a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.
Act 19:20 So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.

Rom 10:17 So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Eph 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

1Th 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received [it] not [as] the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

1Ti 4:5 For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.


The reason why the unrepentant homosexual offenders hate the Word of God:

Hbr 4:12 For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

1Pe 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

1Jo 2:5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.

Rev 1:2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.

Rev 6:9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:

Rev 19:13 And he [was] clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.

Rev 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and [I saw] the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received [his] mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.